Friday, August 13, 2010
Aguas Vivas = Jellyfish!
A jellyfish (agua viva) from the Azores. Basically, Agua Viva translate to alive water---due the transparency---hard to see in the water if you aren't paying close attention.
Is global warming the reason of the abundant amount of Cagarros and jellyfish to the island of Terceira? Some people think that it is, or it may be the result of the last large tsuami. From where I see it, it’s less chickens and more jellyfish!
At most all of the beaches and swimming spots on the island, you will see a large flag pole located at the center easily visible. The flag pole will have either a red, a green or yellow flag waving. Red indicates: lots of jellyfish. When you see a red flag waving, it’s best to stay out of the water, because the “salvadors do mar” (lifeguards) have spotted large quantities of jellyfish, aka: “agua vivas” in the water, and most likely more than one person has already been stung. If there is a yellow flag, it usually means, there were a few sightings of jellyfish, and to use caution. If you see a green flag waving, that means, no jellyfish sightings have been reported. Bottom line, however, don’t rely on the flag too much. If it’s green, that doesn’t mean it’s free and clear.
Sometimes the “salvadors do mar” just are too lazy to change the flag. The lifeguards we saw were a band of teenagers in bright yellow swimming shirts huddled together with their jellyfish nets and surfboards. They look especially cool wearing their Ray Bans, catching the summer rays. Now and then the would get up from their chairs, and actually go into the water, floating on their surf board, or walking near the water with their jellyfish nets on hand. Most of the time however, if a jellyfish is spotted, it's usually by a swimmer or by someone who just got stung. Once the lifeguard is alerted of the situation, he will change the flag, but again, that doesn’t always happen.
No one knows this better than “our friend” Roxanne. Roxanne made a surprise visit to the island, and stayed with us for a short time. Ironically, she was in the ocean for a period of time patrolling the waters for jellyfish, with a kind stranger she had befriended in the ocean. We all thought that Roxanne was looking for more than just a random jellyfish-if you know what I mean. Of course the man thought Roxanne was serious about getting “to know him better” as well, but Roxanne proved to be only a tease. We don’t know what Roxanne was thinking, because this guy looked like a very tan, plump, bald version of Elliot Goule. Whatever the reason, she was caught off guard and got stung not once, but twice by an agua viva on the two days we took her to the beach. May be it was due to the fact that poor Roxanne was very pale and her feet looked a little too appetizing for the jellyfish (agua vivas), or perhaps they thought she was one of their own? Whatever reason, she got stung, and the salvadors were less than sympathetic. They didn’t change the flag for her, but they did direct her to the numerous aloe plants surrounding the beach.
She was not the only person who fell victim to an agua viva! On the second day of the beach, Roxanne was more cautious, and stayed out of the water a little more and enjoyed the “sights”. One of the sights she was enjoying were the two men sun bathing to her right. Little did she know that those men she was admiring were in fact my ex-brother-in-laws. My cousin pointed them out to me, and while I and my son Andrew went over to talk to them, Roxanne volunteered to watch Nicholas in the water. Little did I know, her kindness would be rewarded by another sting of a agua viva. Of course I felt badly, honest I did. I could have offered Nicholas' assistance and have him pee on her sting, but I didn't my son would like the idea.
After I sat down helping her with more aloe plants, my ex-inlaws walked by and said goodbye in a hurry. Apparently another jellyfish had stung one of them on the chest. My poor ex-brother-inlaw was not very happy to say the least. That is when Roxanne confessed that she was admiring them from a far earlier. After she said this, I really didn’t feel too sorry for Roxanne. (I’ll have to write more about Roxanne in another entry-let’s just say it was an interesting visit.)
Still, the flag was still waving green, and the “salvadors” were still looking cool looking out into the ocean…
A Salvador do Mar, "hard at work..."
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